HAMILTON — FC Montreal advanced to the Voyageurs Cup final after a marathon 11 rounds of penalty kicks to deny Forge FC's bid on a Canadian Soccer Championship on Wednesday.
After a 0-0 draw and seven successful penalties from both sides in 10 rounds, it came down to Forge FC keeper Triston Henry against Montreal's Sebastian Breza.
Breza stopped Henry while Breza slipped a slow roller past Henry for the victory before 5,388 fans at Tim Hortons Field.
Forge FC was trying to become the first team from the Canadian Premier League to advance to the Voyageurs Cup final.
Montreal is the defending champion, having captured the title in 2019.
There was no competition last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CF Montreal will play the other semifinal winner between Toronto FC and Pacific FC at BMO Field on Nov 3.
Forge FC carried its solid play at the end of the opening half into the final 45 minutes with a couple of early chances.
Kwame Awuah's long-shot narrowly missed the far post. Then, in the 49th minute, Mo Babouli slid a pass that Emery Welshman failed to redirect from in close.
Yellow cards to Montreal captain Samuel Piette and Joel Waterman in the 52nd and 57th minutes resulted in two failed free kicks for Forge FC.
Forge forward Tristan Borges was booked two minutes later. But Montreal couldn't capitalize.
Breza made a diving stop on Borges, curling left to right shot from just outside the box in the 62nd minute.
The first half concluded without a goal. Forge FC keeper Triston Henry made a pair of early saves at the 10-minute and 11-minute mark. But then his teammates took over for a couple of near-misses at the other end.
Forward Omar Browne delivered a pass into the box that the Welshman headed just wide of the Montreal goal in the 24th minute.
Ten minutes later, Babouli put a shot on Breza that produced a rebound to Browne. But the Forge forward was in too close, and Breza had an easy time keeping the game goalless.
In the 38th minute, Borges was taken down just outside the box, giving his team a free-kick. But Browne sent the try over the bar.
Forge (13-8-2) sits third in the Canadian Premier League table with 41 points, three behind the leader, Cavalry FC and one point shy of second-place Pacific FC.
After a disheartening 1-1 draw in Toronto on Saturday, in which Toronto FC scored in stoppage time, Montreal (11-10-10) dropped to eighth in the MLS Eastern Conference, just below the playoff line.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press